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    Importance of Nanotechnology

    The most efficient machine is the one that requires the least amount of parts to function properly. The more fundamental the design, the less likely there will be problems. A machine designed from the ground up from atoms would be the highest example of such efficiency. It is for this reason that chemical engineering will become one of the most useful fields to major in.

    It is the developing field of nanotechnology that will eventually make the chemical engineer an even more valuable component to technology’s future. Nanotechnology has the capacity to create systems and devices which can accomplish things unheard of with modern methods. This is done by designing devices at a molecular level, at scales consisting of nanometers. Manufactured “quantum dots” are being developed and implemented within the plastics of solar cells which will allow them to be produced cheaply, with a more resilient form factor, and with the ability to harness infrared light. These same dots, which have the properties of a semi-conductor on a molecular scale, are also being implemented in nano-transistors. A computer based off of this technology would have exponential gains in processing power in relation to size, as well as a marked decrease in power requirements. Nanotechnology has also come into play in the fields of medicine and alternative fuel. Specifically engineered molecules could recognize and attack cancer cells without damaging the healthy parts of the body or the immune system. Enzymes assembled with nanotechnological principles have also helped to break down corn stalks in the production of ethanol.

    Nanotechnology is a blanket term, and its principles and products are relevant to a wide range of fields. However, with such small quantities and measurements to work with, all out of visible range, design and production becomes a matter wholly unconventional. Chemical engineers will be the ones with the skill-set to function in this environment. The desired nanomachines will have to be assembled by specially produced molecules and the principles of molecular recognition. An understanding of chemical interactions is vital to this process. The quantum dots used in the solar panels, for example, can be grown efficiently through chemical processes creating nano-crystalline layers. As the field expands, nano-devices will become more complex, and a wide variety of chemical compounds will be required. These compounds will function much like DNA, in that linkages and recognition between molecules will allow for a predictable structure to be produced. Chemical engineering will be necessary to create these molecular “factories.”

    Both quantum physics and chemistry, as well as the study of bio-chemical systems, will be necessary and equally important in advancing the nanotechnology field. It will be the chemical engineer, however, who implements the theories and actually creates these tiny devices. And with its nearly ubiquitous applications, and potentially revolutionary promises, nanotechnology will continue to expand, assuring the chemical engineer an important and useful place in almost any field.

    Sally is a dedicated writer for She is an expert in Nanotechnology Scholarships, Financial Aid, Career Advice, and most other things college related.

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